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Gerrie Summers

Multicultural Beauty


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Is Waxing the Best Hair Removal Method for Skin of Color?

Wednesday April 16, 2014

woman waxing leg

It's that time of the year when many of us are more conscious of hair growth on our bodies.  You might have been able to get away with a little stubble under the arms because long sleeved tops covered the area, but now with the warmer weather you're more apt to be in tank tops and other sleeveless tops--so you really want to be bare.

One popular method for hair removal is waxing--definitely not my favorite. (I'd rather use a stinky depilatory.) There are some benefits to waxing, but there are precautions women of color need to take to prevent problems like ingrown hairs.  Find more information in Hair Waxing Skin of Color.



Lupita Nyong’o is the New Face of Lancôme

Friday April 4, 2014


I knew it wouldn't be long before Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o would be tapped as a celebrity brand ambassador for a beauty company.  Today Lancôme announced that Lupita Nyong'o is the new "Lancôme ambassadress".

"I am truly honored to join the Maison Lancôme, a brand with such a prestigious history that I have always loved," said Lupita. "I am particularly proud to represent its unique vision for women and the idea that beauty should not be dictated, but should instead be an expression of a woman's freedom to be herself."

"Both talented and committed, true to her African beauty, and showing a great curiosity and open-mindedness in her career choices, Lupita is by essence the Lancôme woman," stated Françoise Lehmann, General Manager of Lancôme International, in a release sent out by the company. "A strikingly beautiful and intelligent woman, serenely but strongly living her life her own way, Lupita has this special kind of aura both enlightening and deep."

Xavier Vey, President of Lancôme USA added, "Lupita's authentic inner and outer beauty, her exquisite grace, and true confidence represent today's modern woman.  Having Lupita as a Lancôme ambassadress will help support our mission in the U.S. market, which is to speak to all women.  Her rising star status is like a blooming rose; she is elegant and has an undeniable brilliance."

Lupita Nyong'o will appear in campaigns this summer, shot by photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.

More About Lupita Nyong'o

Celebrity Brand Ambassadors

Photo: ©Alexi Lubomirski for Lancôme

A Look at Africa Fashion Day Berlin

Monday March 31, 2014

Nadir Tati

I was looking at images from the spring/summer 2014 fashion runways and I noticed a couple of pages of black models...and I knew something was up.

I have to admit that I often get frustrated when looking through Fashion Week photos and the most interesting makeup shots that would have been perfect for my purposes are of Caucasian models.  Occasionally you'll see more models of color, but usually I have to hunt for good beauty/makeup shots, especially of black models that seem to get a limited amount of attention from fashion photographers.

Then I found out the images I saw were from Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Berlin, during a special event called Africa Fashion Day Berlin now in its second year. (It's not a new concept - there are African Fashion Week productions now being held annually in New York City, Paris and London.)

Three black designers were given the spotlight in Berlin - Berlin-based designer Arrey Kono who is from Cameroon, Angolan designer Nadir Tati and British designer Romero Bryan.   You can read more about them in my article featuring images from Africa Fashion Day Berlin.

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Photo: Frazer Harrison

White Hot Makeup Trend for Spring

Monday March 31, 2014

model at Tibi

There was a makeup trend from the spring/summer fashion runways that got my attention--white eye makeup.  Makeup artists often use white liner and white eye shadow for highlighting and to correct the appearance of small or wide-set eyes.

Now white is being used as part of the actual eye makeup look from white cat eyes to white graphic wings and even white eyelashes.

model at Arrey Kono

Check out some of the looks from Fashion Week shows and to get Tips for Using White Shadow and Liner.

Photo 1: Anna Webber (Getty Images)/Photo 2: Peter Michael Dills (Getty Images)

Grow Your Own Beauty Ingredients

Tuesday March 25, 2014

lavender drying by a window

If you're into DIY beauty products, why not use ingredients from your own beauty garden?

What you can grow will depend on where you live (because of climate, soil and other factors). It helps to have a green thumb and there are several sites on About.com that can assist you with that.  You'll find them in my beauty garden article.

Lavender, roses, rosemary and other herbs and flowers are great for the skin and can be used in homemade beauty treatments. Don't worry about having a backyard or a big garden. Some herbs can be grown right on the windowsill.

Here's how to plant a beauty garden.

More Garden Beauty

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Photo: Maximilian Stock Ltd/PhotoLibrary (Getty Images)

Happy Birthday to an Old Beauty Favorite

Saturday March 15, 2014
Noxzema jar and cake

Noxzema is 100 this year.

Growing up, I remember there was always a jar of Noxzema cold cream in the bathroom.   Whenever I got a pimple, usually on my forehead (thanks to the greasy hair pomades I used to try to get my bangs to lay flat) all I had to do was put a dot of Noxzema on the pimple overnight and in the morning it was gone!

Noxzema was probably also my first facial mask.  I'd put it all over my face at night. It scared my little brother.  I think he might have actually screamed. I looked like a zombie.  But I put up with the rather odd smell (eucalyptus and menthol) and the Night of the Living Dead appearance, and patiently waited for it to dry (yep, I let it dry and sit on the face overnight), because I'd wake up, rinse it off and have nice smooth and clear skin in the morning.

Noxzema was developed in 1914.  Dr. George A. Bunting has always been credited as the inventor, but recently Francis J. Townsend has been named as the originator.  Townsend would prescribe his formula called "Townsend R 22" to tourists visiting Ocean City, MD to treat sunburn.  In an attempt to broaden his market, he gave the formula for his balm to Bunting, who then marketed his own "Dr. Bunting's Sunburn Remedy".  Customers claimed the cream "knocked out their eczema"--and helped coin the new name, Noxzema, a combination of No Eczema.

In the 1950s Noxzema started being marketed as a skin cleanser and cold cream.   This happened, the story goes, after a company secretary noticed how beautiful it made her complexion look.  It wasn't long before Noxzema was a household name.

There have been variations of Noxzema products through the years.  Currently there are Classic Clean products that include a jar containing the original cleansing cream, the deep cleansing cream in a pump bottle and a moisturizing cleansing cream, as well as an Ultimate Clean line that includes, it comes as no surprise, an anti-blemish scrub and anti-blemish pads.

But there's nothing like the original.

What could be better than a jar of Noxzema? A Noxzema jar made of cake! Photo by Gerrie Summers

Spring Lipstick Trend: Is Orange the New Red?

Wednesday March 12, 2014

Solange Knowles

While you probably won't see me wearing orange lipstick, it's all the rage for spring. I don't thnk it's the best look for me.  But some women like model/singer Solange Knowles, for example, look great in the shade.

If you're interested in this bright, sunny shade, here's How to Pick the Right Orange Lipstick.

More About Lipstick

Photo: Stephen Lovekin (Getty Images)

How to Get Camila Alves' Oscars Makeup Look

Monday March 3, 2014

Camila Alves

After that long kiss Academy Award winning actor Matthew McConaughey planted on wife Camila Alves' lips last night at the 2014 Oscars, how did that lip color stay put?

Get the deets on the lipstick shade used and the rest of Camila's Oscars red carpet makeup.

More Beauty Looks at the 2014 Oscars.

Photo: Courtesy of Votre Vu

Is Your Homemade Beauty Recipe Safe?

Friday February 28, 2014

woman cracking egg

While researching foods that are beneficial for the skin, I saw a couple of Internet articles warning readers against using raw eggs in beauty recipes.  The reasoning makes sense--salmonella.

I wrote to one of my friends about this and told her, "Frankly I'd rather eat the (food) ingredients than put them on my face," and she wrote back, since your skin absorbs anything that you put on it, you wouldn't want to use beauty products that you wouldn't eat. It's interesting.  That same day I had read the advice a skin care professional once received:  "Don't put anything on your face that you wouldn't eat."  It's a nice quote, but I wouldn't put a double chocolate chip cookie on my face.

OK, maybe that's a bad example, considering the fact that I really should stop eating those cookies.  But you get the point--as my friend said, anything you put on your face can be absorbed into the skin. There's some debate about that, but it brings me back to the issue of getting salmonella poisoning.  I'd be more afraid of eating an over-easy egg at a restaurant than I would in mixing a raw egg with other ingredients and then putting it on my face. (I was on a five-hour flight from California after eating said over-easy egg and it wasn't pretty.)

I have used raw eggs in beauty recipes a couple of times, but the reason I stopped was because I now only purchase organic eggs and they are way too expensive to waste on my face when there are other ingredients that provide the same skin care results.  But when it comes to homemade beauty, use your common sense.  Here's how:

Common Sense Tips for Using Homemade Beauty Recipes

Then, after reading that, this new article includes some recipes to use on fine lines and wrinkles:

14 Wrinkle Reducers

Photo: Vegar Abelsnes Photography/Photodisc

Actress Archie Panjabi Shares Her Mom’s Anti-Aging Facial on the Queen Latifah Show

Monday February 24, 2014

Archie Panjabi

Actress Archie Panjabi, who plays an investigator on The Good Wife, appeared on The Queen Latifah Show today.  She presented Queen Latifah with a jar containing her mother's homemade facial recipe.

Panjabi explained that the facial mask is made from chickpea flour, turmeric and yogurt and is used before weddings in India to give the bride a radiant glow.

On the Queen Latifah Show blog it was also explained that turmeric has antiseptic and antibacterial properties (useful for preventing acne) and also exfoliates the skin, helping to reduce facial lines and wrinkles.

Chickpea flour (also known as besan, gram or garbanzo flour) is a natural cleanser and exfoliates while tightening the skin.

Yogurt binds together the ingredients, but also has healing properties and is cooling and soothing.

Panjabi didn't give the exact amount of the ingredients to use, but I have this recipe:


  • 2 teaspoons of chickpea flour
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 3-4 teaspoons of yogurt

Mix the ingredients together into a paste and apply to the face.  Leave on for about 20 minutes or until the skin begins to tighten, and then rinse.  This mask is especially beneficial to oily skin.  If you have dry skin, you can substitute the yogurt with honey.

You can learn more about turmeric and find more anti-aging and skin care recipes in Turmeric For Beauty? and Turmeric Anti-Aging Recipes for the Face.

Actress Archie Panjabi with talk show host Queen Latifah/Photo: © Sony Pictures Television Inc.

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